Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia SCHREINER - Drohobycz, Borislav, Stanislawow #galicia

Alexander Sharon

Dear Galitzyaners,

I've read with the great interest Jonathan's story about the Schreiners,
especially since he made reference to my old post about the stealing by
Polish pharmacist Ignacy Lukasiewicz Abraham Schreiner's inventions of the
crude oil distillation and the kerosene lamp.

1. Schreiner discovery - a legend or a true story?

All old Boryslawers have heard the story about the Abraham Schreiner's
father discovery of the petroleum paraffin.

This natural hydrocarbon, known popularly as "natural wax" and
scientifically as ozokerite, has been known to humanity since antiquity
since it was used in ancient Egypt for the embalming of mummies. A natural
resource, it is found only in a few places on earth. Alongside the crude oil
exploration, production and refining, ozokerite mining on the production
scale was the second largest industry in Boryslaw.

Reb Schreiner was already involved in the candle manufacture >from the bee
wax, but the new discovery allowed him to extend candle production >from the
cheap source.

Abraham Schreiner (1810-1870) is quoted by several sources as the inventor
of the crude oil distillation. In 1853 he delivered his product (kerosene)
to Mikolasch pharmacy in Lwow where Polish pharmacist assistant Ignacy
Lukasiewicz was employed.

Following Abraham Schreiner visit to the pharmacy two versions of the story
have been developed:

a) Ignacy Lukasiewicz used Schreiner's invention as his own and patented it
(or registered) in 1853.
b) Schreiner became known as the inventor of kerosene and the
founder/pioneer of the petroleum refining industry

On the other hand, published by our Valerie Schatzker historical facts are
disputed Schreiner's claim

Quote: "In 1849 by Dr. Abraham Gesner, a Canadian geologist, produced clear
kerosene >from smelly seep oil"

As I have mentioned, several sources are quoting Schreiner as the inventor
of the crude oil distillation:

1. Leopold Held "Tysmienica Still Flows". This originally unpublished book
has been donated by the author (Boryslaw petroleum engineer) daughter to the
JewishGen and translated already partially under Valerie Schatzker
supervision and editing.

2.I Hirszhaut "Yiddishe naftmagnatn" published by Central Union of the
Polish Jews in Argentine, Buenos Aires 1954.

3. L. Held also quotes Jewish Encyclopedia and German pamphlet distributed
during the Nazi occupation of Boryslaw during WWII (In this pamphlet
Hassidic Jew Schreiner is identified as the folksdeutsch (sic!)

In Hitszhaut book there is a passage about the grandson of Abraham
Schreiner, slave laborer in Drohobycz Refinery during the Nazi occupation.
I have identify his identity as Josef Schreiner, master mechanic, born Oct
17, 1889.

This identification became possible thanks to the published very recently
"List of forced laborers in Boryslaw and Drohobycz"

As to Schreiner family moving to Russia, and became known as Shtrejners I
would question this.
Jewish movement was going other direction >from the east to the west not in
reverse. Why Hassidic Galitzyaners have to be invited imperial St Petersburg
is another question. And between names Schreiner and Streiner is a big
difference in their origin.

Alexander Sharon
Calgary, AB

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marx, Jonathan Schreiner" <>

On my mother's side (Kathryn Schreiner) I am of the family of the Drohobycz
Schreiners, the same family as Abraham Schreiner, the discoverer of
petroleum, and the first one to distill it at Borislav. >from what I
understand all the Schreiners of the areas listed are related, so this is
directed to all.

Things are a bit confused in my branch, chiefly because my mother's
generation didn't inquire much of my grandfather, Jacob Schreiner, and this
was compounded by me getting interested after the key uncles and aunts were
dead. Also, by the fact my mom was 1 of 10 children which my grandparents
had, and this kept everybody working "on the farm" long hours and little
time for genealogy.

Anyway, my branch went up into Russia >from Drohobycz area or Galicia. The
exact year I don't know. The name that sticks out is Hirsch Schreiner. I
assume he is the one that left. The name was also known as Shtrejner or
Strejner in Russia. When an old "Landsman" would see my grandfather Jacob,
he would call out "Streiner!" None of my uncles and aunts ever knew why.
They just thought the man didn't know how to pronounce the name. However, in
Alexander Beider's book on Jewish surnames of Russia, I found that Schreiner
was indeed called Shtrejner or Strejner. One entry was at Minsk. Dr. Beider
was kind enough to respond to me (years ago) and let me know that the person
listed was Yankel Girschovich Shtrejner. I assume that's one of my
Schreiners. Schreiner seems to be a rare name for Jews in Russia, and indeed
it is only listed in two places: Minsk and Odessa, and both might be
outcroppings of the Galician Schreiners. (The Odessa listing is for Nukhim
Gershonovich Shtrejner, 6 Uspenski Lane.)

Jacob is a common name in my branch, and my grandfather Jacob's uncle was
also named Jacob, and this may be him in Minsk. However, my great
grandfather was a boot maker in St. Petersburg, where, apparently, Jews were
not supposed to be. He used the name Karl in order to sound more German, but
there is some question if that was his actual name. I don't know then if he
was Hirsch or if his father was Hirsch Schreiner. Jacob, son of Hirsch at
Minsk therefore could be my great-great uncle or my grandfather. (The
listing was for 1905, I recall.)

My grandfather was born 1884. Where, I do not know, but he spoke of the
Ukraine. Names that are related to my branch are Isaacson, Giebelhaus or
Gifelhaus, Sidur or Seder, Veilermann or Mannweiler. Grandpa used to recite
many of the Yiddish calques and nicknames for the family and laugh, but
alas, those names are lost now to my generation.

My branch came to the US in 1912 (actually boarding ship at Liverpool on the
morning of April 15 when the news came over that the Titanic sank.)

On another post, a poster mentioned that Abraham Schreiner had his discovery
stolen by Ignacy Lukasiewicz. Is there any evidence for this in source
material, and would this also contain genealogical material relevant to

Sorry about the length of this post, but there really hasn't been much
information on this extended family, and it was and is a very interesting
family. The Schreiners were talented people, with quick wits, ability for
science, the arts and languages. They were proud without arrogance,
accomplished without pretensions, and all around decent people. I would
finally like to recover much that has been lost, and to find if any other
of the Galician branch, well, survived.


Jonathan Schreiner Marx

Elk Grove, CA

Join to automatically receive all group messages.